Green Lane firefighters were dispatched at 10:48 p.m. Tuesday to a fast-moving fire, in a remote corner of Marlborough Township, which heavily damaged a home at 1716 Ziegler Road.
Neighbors calling 911 indicated that the garage was on fire and “loud bangs” were heard coming from the area. The garage was attached to the two-story house by a small breezeway that fire officials believe kept the entire home from being destroyed.
According to Green Lane Deputy Chief John Balmer, the owners, Paul and Kathryn Deshong, were home at the time the fire started. Paul Deshong “heard something cracking from the garage area.” Upon opening the door to the breezeway, he found a wall of flames. The Deshongs escaped through the rear door of their home into their backyard.
No injuries were reported.
Firefighters arrived and found the garage fully involved in flames which had spread to the north end of the home. The volunteers attacked the fire from outside and inside the building, keeping it from spreading to the south end of the structure.
The heavily forested area, with no public water supply, was a concern for fire officials. Recent dry and windy weather conditions had caused forest fire alerts in Montgomery County over the past few days. Several area fire companies with their tanker trucks were called in to supply water. A site to fill the tankers was set up at a hydrant on Buck Road in Upper Hanover Township.
In little more than 30 minutes, the garage and breezeway were reduced to a pile of smoking embers, with a burned-out SUV parked inside, and much of the adjoining side, front and rear of the house sustained heavy damage. By then area residents wandered out into the warm, spring night to witness the event and inquire about their neighbors.
State Police Fire Marshall David Eggleston and Montgomery County Detectives Fire Investigator John Fallon sifted through the rubble until 2:30 a.m. searching for the cause of the fire, which is still under investigation.
Balmer noted that the cause is not deemed suspicious at this time. There were no reported injuries and no damage estimate was available.
Volunteers remained on the scene mopping up hot spots until 2:16 a.m.
Assisting at the scene were units from East Greenville, Harleysville, Pennsburg, Red Hill, Telford, Towamencin, Tylersport, Upper Frederick and Upper Salford fire companies in Montgomery County. Units responding from Bucks County included Milford Township, Richland and Trumbauersville. Standing by in Pennsburg firehouse were units from Hereford and Gilbertsville fire companies.
Fire police had Ziegler Road closed at the northern section of Upper Ridge Road and closed Upper Ridge Road from Haring Road to Swamp Creek Road until 1:36 a.m.
Also responding were emergency medical service units from Harleysville and Green Lane, and canteen units from North Penn Goodwill Service.